International City has not had a good run lately. Its mention in the media inevitably highlights the steady decline in property values and rentals and recurring issues that many of the residents have with the quality of infrastructure and maintenance.
But Rameez Rufi, vice-president of Rufi Real Estate, can still see a gilt-edged lining to the master-development. "In terms of rental yields, International City fetches as much as 10 per cent and that's right up there with the best locations in the city and, in some cases, even higher," he said.
"And this is despite being a low-value development."
The developer does have a stake in the course that International City takes in the medium-term. Yesterday it started handover of the 140 apartments and five retail outlets at the ground plus 10-storey Rufi Gardens.
"All investors have reached 90 per cent on their instalments and will complete the remaining on handover," said Rufi. This will not mean the end of the developer's exposure to International City.
A second project is being ramped up with completion scheduled for December 2012. A third plot is also in the works, and the plans are to release these units into the rental market on its own.
"Given how the market is moving, it will create an additional income stream for us," said Rufi. "When we see an improvement in sentiments the third project will be launched.
"Unsold properties needn't be a drag for developers if handled right it can provide a reasonable rental income and yields. It creates a continuous cashflow."
In fact, the developer wants to make it a habit of getting on with the hand-overs. "Earlier when the times were good, our plan was to launch projects every six months," said Rufi.
"We have discarded that and gone for one that is more suitable to the present to deliver projects every six months.
"Where we have already made full payments on the plots to the master-developers, the plan is to proceed with the projects. Where we have not, we are hoping that favourable terms can be agreed upon for both parties."
The developer has nine plots in Dubai Sports City, five of which are being proceeded with. "There are two buildings where the structures are complete and the finishing works will start soon," Rufi added.
"Between the Real Estate Regulatory Agency and the Land Department they have cleared the market of developers who were not getting anywhere on the delivery. This summer will be slow, but the market should be ready to move on after.
"The banks are getting back and investors are trying to get through their commitments; if they can't meet a full payment, they are still trying to come up with 50 per cent and more.
From / Gulf News